Apple officially kicked off yearly World-Wide Development Conference with its opening keynote. WWDC 2021 unveiled the future of its software platforms detailing new features inside iOS 15, iPadOS 15, watchOS 8, macOS 12 Monterey and more.
Here is everything Apple announced today with a deeper look inside the new OS features.
Inside iOS 15
Apple’s first presentation puts the iPhone front and center with a major focus on communication tools like FaceTime and Messages.
FaceTime and Messages
Apple build big improvements to FaceTime including Shared Experiences like sharing your screen, watching a movie or listening to a music while chatting. It opens SharePlay API to all developers so that they can open their Apps to the whole new FaceTime experience.
FaceTime also brings Spatial Audio and Noise Cancellation to separate user’s voice from the background noise thereby improving sound quality. It offers new features like Grid View for multiple FaceTime callers and Portrait Mode that allows users to blur their backgrounds.
With FaceTime Links, non-iPhone (Android and Windows) users will be able to join a FaceTime call by just joining a link.
Messages got the love with redesigned Photo Sharing experience where photos shared with you during a trip will automatically go to your photo library. It also automatically signal to friends that they are unavailable or in Do Not Disturb mode by using the new Focus feature.
Focus and Notifications
iOS 15 includes a new digital wellbeing feature called Focus that allows users to filter notifications and hide distractions without missing what’s important. You can set different Focus group like when you are at Work or Studying or just want to play around. You can set Focus based on the time of the day. It then allows users the flexibility to set different home screens based on your what your specific Focus is at the moment. Focus syncs across all your Apple devices.
Notifications have been redesigned with Focus in mind giving you specific notifications that you allow at the moment. It brings notifications summary that uses machine learning and frees you from the distraction of never ending notifications.
Photos in iOS 15 added new features like better handling and introducing Memory Mixes of our precious Memories that’s found in the For You tab.
Our favorite Photos feature is its ability to capture live text and for users to search the Photos library using texts by adding it to Spotlight. It currently gives users the ability to search photos in 7 different languages.
Other noteworthy changes inside iOS 15
Apple Maps gives a brand new interface to explore the world around you. It also gets a new detailed look when driving including crosswalks, bike lanes, stop signs, and shows interchanges in 3D.
The Weather app gets a major redesign adding 1000 background animations depending on the weather in your current location. It has new notifications for incoming rain, snow etc.
Apple Wallet added a brand new keys where you can further unlock your house, or hotel room in addition to being able to unlock your car. It can incorporate work passes in the future. Apple has worked to further minimize your physical wallet by allowing you to scan your digital ID (state ID or driver’s license) and stores in the Secure Enclave. The era of showing your physical identification at the airport may soon be over.
Inside iPadOS 15
Widgets and App Library
Apple introduced the future of iPadOS. The biggest change is widgets are now similar to iOS 14 where users are now available to place on the widgets on the iPad Home Screen. It introduces a extra large widget putting what matters most to you front and center.
iPadOS also brings the App Library to the iPad for the first time. It is located directly in the dock for easy access to all of your applications.
iPadOS 15 also includes a new multi-tasking system with a new way to access the controls. The new multi-tasking menu appears at the top of apps letting users to go into Split View or Slide Over directly from the menu. Previous user selected multi-tasking options are saved on the “shelf” for faster access.
Other changes inside iPadOS 15
The Notes app now supports tags and the ability to write notes from whatever app you’re using. Shared notes now has the support for mentions and a brand new activity view to see changes from different users.
The Translate app is now on the iPad following a successful iPhone release last year. Text can now be translated anywhere on the iPad including handwritten notes and texts captured in your Photos library.
Swift Playgrounds introduces new feature that will allow users to learn, and build iPhone and iPad apps right on their iPad. It also allows users to submit their apps directly for the App Store. Xcode didn’t make the cut this year but this is a great stepping stone towards that direction. You can find our iPadOS 15 wishlist here.
Inside watchOS 8 and Health
WatchOS 8 redesigned the Mindfulness App to focus on reducing stress and improve mental health. It features a brand new animation and users can choose to reflect to think about happy thoughts whenever the user is feeling down.
There’s a brand new Tai Chi and Pilates workout that focuses on mindfulness and body stability. Apple Watch counts the number of breathes you take per minute while sleeping with the new Respiratory Rate health tracker.
The Health App adds trends to show your health and notifies you if whenever there are changes to your steps or other health function. A new Walking Steadiness category has been added to see changes in your body’s walking and mobility balance by using the iPhone’s on board sensors. It also introduces Family Health sharing for users to get notifications if specific trends to your Family member changes over time.
Inside macOS Monterey
Following the success of Handoffs, MacOS Monterey brings new Universal Control to the Mac where users with a single mouse and keyboard can move between Macs and iPads for a seamless experience with no setup required. The feature introduces new feature where users can drag and drop content back and forth between devices.
Shortcuts and Airplay arrives to the Mac this year simplifying automation and bringing it to the next level. Airplay allows you to use the gorgeous screen real estate of the Mac and use it to cast videos from your iPhone or iPad.
A redesigned Safari brings tab groups that instantly syncs between all your apple devices. It also has a brand new minimalistic design that takes the web front and center in everything you do.
AirPods got new feature updates with Conversation Boost and Announce Notifications. Conversation Boost uses the Transparency feature in the AirPods Pro to help people with slight audible problems hear a conversation more clearly.
AirPods also gets the Find My feature that allows you to find your missing AirPods as it transmits a low power bluetooth signal and harnesses the crowdsourced ability of Find My.
It now supports Spatial Audio on tvOS and macOS. You can start experiencing Spatial Audio on Apple Music starting today.
So that’s a roundup of the major things announced at this year’s WWDC 2021. What are your most favorite features?